Thursday, October 8, 2020

Will Kamala's Side-Eye Cost Her?

One of the faces Kamala featured at the VP Debates last night.

After watching the VP debates and then listening to talking heads rant about Kamala and how presidential she sounded, I wonder if we’re witnessing the same phenomenon that we saw four years ago: media reporting how arrogant, clownish and totally unelectable Trump was, that Hillary’s a shoo-in….and an election that produced OPPOSITE results.

Because on Twitter, I witnessed a very different reaction to Kamala.

How large is this perspective? Does it represent a swath?

Elites vs. the Little Guy

When I, an undecided voter, watched Kamala last night, I saw someone who I did NOT want to be listening to for the next four years.  Her bemused smirks and eye rolls corroborated the more explicit “will you shut up, man,” and “this clown” that we saw from Biden in the first debate.

It communicated a “this guy is so low I can’t even believe I’m in the same room as him.”  Kamala said she refused to take a vaccine, coming from Trump’s dirty hands.  "It pains me,” she communicated with her exaggerated side-eye, “to be addressed a question like whether or not I'm going to pack the Supreme Court.  I refuse to answer.”

Her downright snark: responding sarcastically, “good line”, to Pence when he said, “you’re entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts,” incited a visceral dislike.

Yeah, I Kamala is the last person I’d want to have a beer with.

Yet, in the commentary at ABC following the debates, Gayle King mention how apropos it was that a fly land on Pence’s head, and laud Kamala as professional.  (Note: her expert criticism wasn’t of Pence’s debate performance; but of an insect’s behavior throughout.)

Twitter, I saw, too, only featured trending hashtags that commended Kamala and derided Pence: #ImSpeaking, #flygate, and #penceWonTheDebate (notice "Pence" not capitalized—the hashtag wasn’t congratulatory).  I didn’t see Twitter feature one trending hashtag that commended Pence or derided Kamala.  But of course those Tweets are out there.

Remembering 2016

Just weeks before the election in 2016, Hillary gave this talk to Orlando voters, and in a cold, almost irate tone, said “I can’t believe I’m not 50 points ahead.” 

Scott Adams at the time credited this presumption, along with calling anyone who didn’t support her “deplorable”, to Hillary’s in fact LOSING.

People notice a haughty, exclusionary tone.  It either diminishes their enthusiasm for the candidate, and would-be supporters fail to go to the polls, or incites them to vote for the opposing candidate.

A Little Signal

Even if we’re seeing the same dynamic—liberal coastal elites inciting the ire of voters in swing states—it’s impossible to tell if it can move the needle as it seemed in 2016.  We’re dealing with a whole new array of issues.  Or Issue, really.  The election in large part will be a referendum on Trump’s handling of Covid-19.

However, this VP debate is crucial for the Harris/Biden ticket, as, given Biden’s age, voters see Kamala as the top of the ticket.

Can you think of anybody whose mannerisms are less presidential than Kamala?” Scott Adams asked on his podcast this morning.

How are other undecided voters reacting?  As Matt Dowd said of the election in 2016, “there's a group of voters that don't like either one of these folks, that don't trust either one of these folks, but they're looking for a signal of, what should they do?” 

To a person equally open to the idea of a Biden or Trump presidency, Kamala’s exaggerated, almost theatrical snark, might just be the little thing to end their vacillation.

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